Fee Assistance

Childcare Fee Assistance (Center Specific)

Northwestern University offers several types of childcare and dependent care fee assistance programs. 
Northwestern University allocates funds for fee assistance every year for eligible Northwestern families whose children are enrolled at any of the following:

1420 Maple Ave.
Evanston, IL  60201

University Children’s Center
446 E. Ontario Street
Suite 150
Chicago, IL 60611

Bright Horizons at Evanston 
1629 Orrington Ave.
Evanston, IL  60201

Bright Horizons Downtown
Bernice E. Lavin Early Childhood Education Center
441 E. Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60611

How the Fee Assistance Program Works:

Funds are awarded to Northwestern families who demonstrate financial need and meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Recipients must be full-time faculty, staff or undergraduate/graduate school students. 
  • Children must be enrolled full time, five days per week, at the center.
  • Combined family income must be $130,000 or less, as documented on last year's tax return.
  • Both parents must be employed or in school full time (as is consistent with Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account rules).
  • Recipients cannot be receiving fee assistance or scholarship from another source, for example a program through another entity.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, beginning in January for the following school year. Families currently receiving assistance are given priority. School year awards are determined on a first come first served basis. Please apply early. For more information about fee assistance at the McGaw YMCA, contact registration at 847-475-8580. For the University Children’s Center, contact the Office of Work/Life & Family Resources at 847-467-3631. For Bright Horizons at Evanston, contact Pam Hammons, the business manager at 847-491-9032. For the Bernice E. Lavin Bright Horizons in Chicago, contact the business manager, Matt Allerton at 312-926-5437.

Fee Assistance FAQs pdf

Tax Implications:

In accordance with the Internal Revenue Code and related Regulations, certain employer provided dependent care assistance is considered taxable income. The University is reporting employer provided childcare fee assistance on the W-2 form. When determining your FSA Dependent Care contribution, you will want to take into account the amount of child care fee assistance received from the University, as the maximum annual exclusion for tax free employer provided dependent care assistance is currently $5,000 annually.

Important Considerations:

1. If you terminate your relationship with the University, you will remain liable for the taxes associated with fee assistance received. For example, if you leave the University mid-month, the amount of your tax liability may not be reported to the University by the time you receive your final paycheck, so you may receive a bill from the University for the associated FICA taxes (7.65% of fee assistance) for the preceding month. You will be responsible for payment of these FICA taxes. Any federal and state tax obligations will be your own responsibility.  If you fail to notify Northwestern University of your termination and continue to receive fee assistance beyond your termination date, you must reimburse the University for the fee assistance paid by the University on your behalf.

2. If you are a student and you become a temporary, part-time or full-time employee, you will be liable for federal and state taxes on child care fee assistance you receive retroactive to the beginning of the calendar year and will continue to be liable for the entire calendar year. Northwestern will send you a bill for the amount of uncollected FICA taxes, and paying the federal and state taxes will be your own responsibility. It is important to note that if you fail to pay these taxes, any future child care fee assistance will be in jeopardy.

Additional Childcare and Dependent Care Financial Assistance (Not Center Specific)

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account

The Dependent Care Account assists in funding eligible childcare expenses and certain costs associated with the care of a dependent child, spouse or parent. Participants make pre-tax contributions by payroll deduction and the contributions are allocated to an account maintained on the participant's behalf by the University.

University's Dependent Match Program

The University provides non-taxable matching funds directly to an employee to assist in meeting a portion of annual dependent care expenses. These funds are made in the form of additional earnings on your regular paycheck.